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10 April 2009


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If we don't pass this bill, the hamsters win!

Wait a second, I meant that to be sarcastic and humorous but it's also factually correct. Darn.


no Christie: first the puppy eats the hamster, then the python eats the dog...


(your comments on the fear-based nature of this produced laws are very well taken)

Colorado Transplant

I have to say this somewhere, and I chose this posting. I hope Christie Keith will forgive me. My cats did not like the gefilte fish, but my husband does. Good Friday holiday, all, and may everyone enjoy this Easter Sunday, believer or not!

Christie Keith

I wouldn't call that a "middle" ground, Emily, because this law is so far to one side that restricting genuinely dangerous animals from being kept as pets is way way way way way off to the other side.

What this law is REALLY doing is playing on those sensationalistic tragic stories and using the fear they generate to regulate all kinds of other animals that are either harmless or no more harmful than dogs and cats (and sure as hell less harmful than humans).

If they want to ban tigers and chimps as pets, how about if they do that, instead of this?

As to the python drama, I personally think it's ludicrous. Sure, FLORIDA has a problem. And perhaps, if magic transported the Florida pythons to California or other temperate regions, we could have problems there, too.

But there are pythons and big boas a lot closer to California than Florida is, with a lot less in the way of snowy mountain ranges between us -- Latin America.

So where are the pythons here?

Florida has all kinds of issues with invasive species that are particular to that region. Why should I have a law restricting the kind of animals I can keep that's based on a problem that's only in Florida?

But what really bugs me is not the issue per se, but the sloppy science and sensationalistic reporting that goes along with the "python eats baby" type story. It means that when there ARE genuine issues, they get lost in all the crying wolf and sky is falling we've already heard over and over.

And we get more and more laws based on fear and myths, and fewer and fewer on rigorous science and the idea of the LEAST regulation that will achieve what's needed.


This makes perfect sense. There is definately nothing more imortant that our government should be working on right now then banning hamsters. Hamsters are obviously the biggest threat to our safety as a country.

Christie Keith

Hamster cells right now are plotting to take out the Obama's new puppy.

Colorado Transplant

I get it!

Ban The Hamsters--save the country!

(But please, please do not take out Obama's new puppy.)

Christie Keith

If hamsters do take out the new puppy, this law will be passed the next day.

However, the pythons have a plan to take out the hamsters, so...

Raven's Mom

Letter sent. That is just ridiculous legislation. Considering the current economic problems, the government should not be messing with my right to have pets. They should be thankful I can still take care of them.

Original Lori

The Bees are not happy about this:

Gina Spadafori

Amen, Christie. Eddie the Caique parrot, who is smarter than half of Congress, says this is utterly unacceptable.

And so do the chickens.


Interesting point! How many of our farm animals are technically "non-native"?

Hmmmmmmmmmm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Original Lori

Dear PeTA,

Get out of my Congress.

Thank you,


Phyllis DeGioia

One other thing to mention when writing Congress is that this bill will drastically impact - negatively - the business of veterinarians specializing in exotic pets and birds. If they won't listen to common sense, they might be willing to listen to a negative financial impact on their constituents. And who knows how zoos would be affected?

Christie Keith

Great point, Phyllis! And a friend pointed out to me that the big pet stores, which do NOT sell puppies and kittens, devote more than half their floor space to supplies, tanks, cages, and other equipment for aquarium fish, birds, pocket pets, and other less-common pets. A law like this would be a brutal blow to the very stores who have "done the right thing" by dogs and cats (although I recognize there are issues with other animals).


Good post. And I tend to view poorly thought out legislation like this as a "slippery slope" toward outlawing ALL pets. Sounds ridiculous, I know but then, look at what's before Congress at this very moment with HR669.

Christine H

It's weird, I've always been more partial to other types of pets. I loved the dogs I've met, and wish I could love cats (allergic), but I've loved the hamsters that have been in my life, or the fish, and especially the gerbil I had in college, just as much. Recently, I've adopted geckos that are pretty kickin' themselves.

It always blows my mind when people with solely dogs or cats wonder why someone would have other pets and love them like a dear friend. Don't they get that's how petless people feel about them?

With herps or fish, I think more of the attraction is the wonder and the beauty, but to say there isn't companionship there isn't right either. I know of an iguana who gets to watch tv with his family and of a bearded dragon that goes on walks. I talk to my leopard geckos the same way I talk to my dogs, and we're working on getting them more used to small amounts of handling.

And of course, there's companionship when you factor in small mammals and birds. They have personalities in their own way, especially birds, who are freakishly intelligent.

Of course, the drawbacks, or bonuses, depending on the breed, are the life span. Many birds and herps live super long with the proper care. How can you know, for sure, that you'll be able to take care of your parrot in 20 years? On the other hand, who wouldn't want their talking dog to keep them company for 30+ years?

Some small mammals, particularly that gerbil in college, though, don't seem to live long enough.


OMG, there're nutters in Congress. Oh. Wait. That's nothing new. What is new is that this type of poorly thought out sweeping legislation has reached the national level instead of just percolating at the city and county levels, where such bubbles have risen to the top of the nonnative pet pot for years. Time once again to crank the heat down...


oy... is there a middle ground?

I can't understand the problem with having ferrets, or hamsters, or captive-raised parrots as pets.

But chimps? tigers? Or THESE guys:

Colorado Transplant

No discrimination on this blog.

If you are ready, willing, and able, you can aid in this fight against those hamsters who think they are clever, smart, and cute.

Cat, dog, whatever, you can be of service to your country.

Susan Fox

I don't know that my cats would welcome the competition for small tasty critters, although the gophers seem to be keeping them occupied right now. They're working the holes in shifts.

Christie Keith

Well, maybe some nice rescued bust dogs?

Colorado Transplant

We ought to tell Obama about this revolting development before he gets his dog.

He might need an army of dogs to help out in this crisis!

Colorado Transplant

First to go will be the hamsters, then the dogs, and then--OMG--it will be the CATS--No, not the cats. Never the cats. Never, never, never. I will maintain my own army--recruitment is starting now, just in case.

Colorado Transplant

Ya, if I get in jail with them they probably would steal all my carrots--boo-hoo!

Christie Keith


Christie Keith

Those hamsters are hardcore.

I mean... look at the drive, the destructive capability, the potential for mayhem....

Colorado Transplant

I just sent an e-mail to congress, as you suggested.

Christie Keith

I hate when that happens, yo!

Susan Fox

Ok, it's Friday and time for....

I love having cats and a dog, but, I gotta say, when there was a big bust of neglected reptiles last year and about 80 animals (30+ turtles, nile monitor lizard, bearded dragons,etc)came into the shelter, I did some fast research on chameleons, because two were part of the seizure and I've always thought they were mucho cool.

The care requirements turned out to be a lot more than I was in a position to deal with, not to mention the species (can't remember what they were) was not appropriate for beginning reptile keepers.

But I did have an anole (which we all called chameleons, remember?) when I was in junior high. I made it a little leash out of thread, pinned it to my sweater and wore it to school a few times. I'd probably be arrested or at least expelled for doing that these days.

Christie Keith

OMG the folks at must fight this threat to their existence, and also convince their rogue members to leave the Obama puppy alone!


I phoned. I may also arm my corydoras catfish. Battle catfish, yeah!

Colorado Transplant

Christie, I am not going to start my own army because I remembered it was illegal--may be called sedition, I think.

I might get locked up with all those hamsters.

Christie Keith

The hamster uprising has begun...

Colorado Transplant

Ya, I think so.

Those hamsters are smart and well-armed.

Anne T

Hello. My name is Elf. I am very, very good at hamster control. I can even open hamster cages and remove them stealthily. Pretty good for a dog that's only 19" at the withers.

I suggest you hire me to help fight this insidious hamster invasion. I am not PETA approved; being a purebred, AKC registered and titled, and an opportunistic carnivore. I even carry an AKC AG height card to prove it!

I have no doubt that there are other dogs who read Pet Connection's blog who would love to aid me fighting those dastardly hamsters. A little cage opening training and we'd be good to go. And just think how pleased Congress would be as they wouldn't have to pass the legislation!

The Zen Parrot

I'm sorry, but all this hysteria about HR 669 is being stirred up by the Pet Industry Joint Information Council, which should tell you all you need to know! These are the people who want to defend your right to own 20 foot Burmese pythons, even though the Florida Everglades are being decimated and the pythons are now moving into the Florida Keys.

This legislation concerns INVASIVE animals. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with your pets or parrots or hampsters! No one is going to break down your door and take your pets away from you.

And no one has to PROVE their pets are safe. That is just total NONSENSE!!!

Colorado Transplant

Good thinking, Christie.

We must not classify all hamsters as bad. I have seen many a hamster who just wants to be loved and has no thoughts of joining a hamster cell. The hamster I am talking about just wants his carrots, water, and hamster food. He wants a place to exercise. He also wants a friend hamster to play with. These are not the bad guys.

Christie Keith

We also welcome patriotic hamsters who reject the radical hamster agenda.

Gina Spadafori

Zen ... suggest you read the legislation.

Christie Keith

Here are the species that are exempt:

"any cat (Felis catus), cattle or oxen (Bos taurus), chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), dog (Canis lupus familiaris), donkey or ass (Equus asinus), domesticated members of the family Anatidae (geese), duck (domesticated Anas spp.), goat (Capra aegagrus hircus), goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus),horse (Equus caballus), llama (Lama glama), mule or hinny (Equus caballus x E. asinus), pig or hog (Sus scrofa domestica), domesticated varieties of rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), or sheep (Ovis aries)...."

Susan Fox

I haven't seen one in many years, but found this tidbit on a National Zoo Fact Sheet:

"Green anoles have a stereotyped set of behaviors. Male anoles perform rituals of dominance and territoriality. They show their dominance by bobbing their heads, usually through pushup-like movements."

Doesn't that remind you of some of the guys who showed up at the 9th grade dance without a date?

Christie Keith

It merely directs the Secretary of the interior to draw up a list of approved animals based on current scientific data.

First of all, lovely selective quoting to include dogs and cats when we've repeatedly said they're not impacted by this.

The second part, Gina already said. Read the bill. Creating a "guilty until proven innocent" list is exactly what I'm objecting to here. It's bad law, and it's bad science.

Gina Spadafori

Read the bill. Doesn't matter its intentions: Read the bill.

Evan Peterson

Another person drawn in by the Exotic Pet Industry hysteria.

>>This law IS NOT AIMED AT

" most aquarium fish, nearly all species of pet bird, and even common pets like hamsters and guinea pigs. Dogs and cats"

It merely directs the Secretary of the interior to draw up a list of approved animals based on current scientific data. In this way the Pet Industry can't keep coming out with the latest new craze and start breeding and importing without first proving it won't cause harm.

H. Houlahan

But I did have an anole (which we all called chameleons, remember?) when I was in junior high. I made it a little leash out of thread, pinned it to my sweater and wore it to school a few times. I’d probably be arrested or at least expelled for doing that these days.

Comment by Susan Fox — April 10, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

OMFG. I thought I was the only kid who ever did that.

Eighth grade. I thought my English teacher (whom I loved) was going to have a coronary when my "jewelry" moved.

I loved that little guy. I want one.

PJ Coombs

Come on folks, this bill will effect everyone owning a pet anything! The manufacturers of animal cagings, supplies, and food will be probably go out of business. Pet stores, both big chains down to the licensed inhome pet stores, will no longer have animals or supplies to offer to the pet owner. In turn, will be out of business. People will be out of a job. Even the vets will be effected. Do you really think this wont effect owning a cat or a dog? Do some research on where your cat or dog's ancestory line comes from. Where they here before Columbus landed on the America's coast? IF not, then they too are considered to be "nonnative". If you have a animal/reptile/fish as a pet, look at what you purchase for them. All those companies will be effected as well. Where will you go to provide your animal, that you care so much about, with its food, toys, and medical care?

Yes, we need some restrictions and controls. Yes there are some real issues out there. But why should we all be punished because of the carelessness of a few??

Do your part to save our pets. Please, I love all of ours: 3 UKC registered dogs, 2 cats, 2 different birds, several fresh and saltwater fish, and many reptiles. We do exhibits edcating as well as breeding a few animals that are close to extinction in hopes of reintroducing some species back into their natural habitat. Mind you, it was the human that has destroyed the places where some of these animals live. So what does that say about us?

PJ Coombs

P.S. Sorry for the typos and such, too early and no coffee. Let's stand strong together, no matter what you own for a pet. Dont you love your pet? Dont let the government take them away from us. I could not destroy any of my animals. I would take the fines and jail time first.

Kristy B

I have written all of my senators and representatives about this bill. I did it about 2 weeks ago when I first got wind of it. I shudder to think what would happen to me and my ferrets if they outlawed them. . .


PJ Coombs - Dogs and cats are being "grandfathered in". (Probably only because the legislators know how many of their voting constituents are dog and cat owners!)

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